Wrestling: Trumbull-Warde battle through injuries
Two of the state’s best wrestling programs met midway through the McDougall Duals at Trumbull High this past Saturday.
Coach Charlie Anderson’s Eagles and coach Jason Shaughnessy’s Mustangs brought out the best in each other, although both squads were missing important parts from their lineup.
“We’ll do okay today,” Anderson said. “But what we put on the mat today (for five matches) won’t be the same team on the mat at the end of the year.”
Among those out for Trumbull were Jonathan Kozak (126-132 pounds), Jace Starrett (152) and Matthew Ryan (heavyweight). Missing for Warde were 145-pounder Cole Shaughnessy, 138-pounder Dennis Toslluku and heavyweight Dan Mundle.
Warde won an entertaining 42-34 decision, which by the end of the match had the other four teams at the event watching.
“We were very pleased with defeating Trumbull and going 5-0 on the day,” Shaughnessy said. “Trumbull has a very experienced lineup returning from last season, and the addition of the two Longo brothers [Michael and Travis] from Wilton makes them an even stronger team this year.
“So far this season, our upper weights have stepped up and been very strong. We won 152-through-220 versus Danbury and 160-through-heavyweight versus Trumbull.
“Seeing Trumbull and Danbury early is great, but it all matters at the end of the season.
"Charlie and Ricky [Shook] are great coaches and will have their teams finishing strong.”
Trumbull won 5-of-6 bouts to open up the match.
At this point, both Anderson and Shaughnessy were ready to go to the whip, if you will, for the stretch run.
Warde’s come back began with a fine match at 160 pounds between Noah Zuckerman and Trumbull’s Will Holmes.
Zuckerman, who placed third at 138 pounds as a junior, got the early takedown and then was on top the remaining five minutes.
Five times he had opportunity at back points, only once was Holmes willing to give that extra inch needed.
Zuckerman’s 5-0 win took the score to 28-15.
The Eagles’ Webster Williams met Hunter Rasmussen at 171 pounds.
The bout had ‘Oh Boy’ written all over it in the early stages with Rasmussen taking a 2-0 lead and William reversing into a pin possibility.
At 7-4, Rasmussen regained control and got the pin call at 1:59, with official Ted Oczkowski’s hand hitting the mat one second before the period came to an end.
Warde closed within 28-27 when John Summers caught Jason Mercado on a slip and registered a fall in 1:01 at 182.
Junior Griffin Gallati posted Warde’s third consecutive win by fall, at 1:41 over sophomore Bobby DeJesus, and the Mustangs had a 33-28 lead with three matches remaining.
In a battle between two of the state’s best, Trumbull Joe Palmieri met Warde’s Joe Gjinaj at 220 pounds.
Gjinaj, the State Open champion and fifth-place finisher at New Englands at 195 pounds, scored the first takedown, but Palmieri, the Class LL champ at 182 pounds, tied things up.
Gjinaj escaped and then beat the clock with a last-second takedown to lead 5-2 after two. Palmieri let his rival up looking for a three-point move or better, but Gjinaj stayed on his feet the rest of the way for a 6-3 win.
At heavyweight, Warde’s junior Alec Nardone pinned fellow junior L.J. Suarez in 1:12 to secure the decision.
Trumbull’s Michael Longo pinned Connor Breheney in 1:41 of their match-ending 106-pound bout.
How they got to 28-12
Warde’s Dylan Cruvinel won by fall in 5:09 at 113 pounds to start things off.
Trumbull sophomore Andy Grabinski wasn’t able to slip away for those five minutes, but he kept working to dave his team points. The Eagle trailed 4-0, 6-0, and 8-0, four times fighting off his back, before Cruvinel gat a half to stick.
At 120 pounds, Trumbull’s Travis Longo defeated Jack Bugaj by first-period pin in 1:46. Like Grabinski a match early, Bugaj didn’t make things easy for his rival.
Trumbull’s Jack Ryan and Will Ebert were tied at 2, with Ryan out for back points when the Mustang freshman had to injury default 1:06 into the bout.
At 126 pounds, Aidan Burns for Trumbull went at it with Omar Khatib in a wild first period.
Burns fought off his back, and down 4-0, got within 4-3 after two, before Khatib pinned in 2:35.
David Castaldo led 4-1 in the third when he pinned Warde’s Jeremy Brault in 4:13 for an 18-12 lead.
Down a wrestler in the middle weights, Anderson sent freshman Ryan Frate to meet Warde sophomore Nour Youseff.
Each showed their inexperience at times, but also their latent level of skills.
After a rather pedestrian first period that saw Frate leading 4-1, the Eagle was better on his feet and added to his advantage.
Youseff wouldn’t go quietly, however, and took it the full six minutes.
Frate’s 21-10 four-point major decision gave Trumbull its 22-12 lead.
Jack Ryan, Trumbull’s Class LL champ at 138 pounds, was awarded the only forfeit in the match at 152 pounds.
Warde won all five of its matches on the day; Trumbull took 4 of 5.
TRUMBULL 65, NEW BRITAIN 12
106: Michael Longo (T) tech. fall Isahus Maldonado 16-1; 113: Travis Longo (T) pinned Eric Maldonado; 126: Jack Ryan (T) pinned Elijah Aponte 1:06; 132: Aidan Burns (T) pinned Devon Barnes; 138: David Castaldo (T) pinned Mariah Williams 1:25; 145: Matt Ryan (T) pinned Kevin Arocho 1:58; 152: Nickolas Richardson (NB) dec. William Holmes 8-7; 160: Andy Amoah-Mensa (NB) dec. Derek Zielinski 12-5; 170: Webster Williams (T) pinned Laylano Medina; 182: Jason Mercado (T) pinned Ralph Diaz 2:42; 195: Izaiah Medina (NB) pinned Joseph Palmieri 1:47; 285: LJ Suarez (T) pinned Juliano Morales 1:18.
TRUMBULL 65, WESTHILL 16
126: Jack Ryan (T) pinned Kaden Camano; 132: Chase Parrot (W) pinned Aidan Burns; 138:David Castaldo (T) pinned Mike Edwards 1:18; 145: Matt Ryan (T) tech. fall Alex Edwards 17-1; 152: Tommy Mazur (W) maj. dec. William Holmes 10-0; 160: Webster Williams (T) pinned Armando Mueses Nunez 3:05; 285: Junsheng Huang (W) pinned LJ Suarez 5:44.
TRUMBULL 63, BERLIN 15
113: Andrew Grabinski (T) pinned Christianna Morley 2:45; 120: Travis Longo (T) pinned Jake Kaplan 2:35; 132: Jack Ryan (T) pinned Tyler Barber 3:10; 138: David Castaldo (T) pinned Mike King 1:33; 145: Matt Ryan (T) dec. Daniel Veleas 7-5; 160: William Holmes (T) pinned Arban Asatourian 1:17; 170: Sebby Malespini (B) dec. Webster Williams 11-4; 182: Jason Mercado (T) pinned Mike Williams; 195: Joseph Palmieri (T) pinned Matt Wieczorek; 220: Max Schlein (B) pinned Kieran Bill.
TRUMBULL 72, SHELTON 12
106: Michael Longo (T) pinned Graham Ziperstein 51 seconds; 113: Travis Longo (T) pinned Garrett Ziperstein 3:25; 120: Andrew Grabinski (T) won by forfeit; 126: Jack Ryan (T) pinned Ayyan Mumtaz 1:48; 132: David Castaldo (T) pinned Sean Rago 46 seconds; 145: Matt Ryan (T) pinned Colin Mengold 2:12; 152: Williams Holmes (T) won by forfeit; 160: Webster Williams (T) pinned Mike Monaco 1:42; 170: Ben Cousins (T) won by forfeit; 182: Jason Mercado (T) won by forfeit; 195: Joseph Palmieri (T) won by forfeit; 220: Ray Weiner (S) won by forfeit; 285: Matthew Weiner (S) won by forfeit.